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Thomas Zimmer: “America can accept this Supreme Court as legitimate and its rulings as the final word – or it can have true democracy and a functioning state. But not both.”

"Forget the stupid legend of the '3-3-3' Court. This is still the Dobbs Court."

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Another day, another brilliant thread by Georgetown University historian Thomas Zimmer; this time, on “The Rogue Court vs Modern Democracy”; specifically, that “America can accept this Supreme Court as legitimate and its rulings as the final word – or it can have true democracy and a functioning state. But not both.” A few more key points that jumped out at me include:

  • “The Supreme Court ended its term with a flurry of decisions that thoroughly undermine the drive towards egalitarian democracy and the ability of the state to tackle the most urgent collective actions problems of the twenty-first century.”
  • “Mainstream Court coverage quickly reverted back to its idolizing mean and enthusiastically told the people about the most wondrous, most marvelous of creatures: the 3-3-3 Court – with three ‘institutionalists’ holding the mythical center. It never made any sense. But there is a professional machine of Court observers always ready to propagate the legend of the noble Court, all balls and strikes. The ‘3-3-3 Court’ narrative embodied all the pathologies of the hagiographic mainstream Supreme Court discourse.”
  • “And it wasn’t just Dobbs: At the end of the 2022 term, the Court left no doubt it wasn’t content with merely allowing Republicans to entrench reactionary rule in red states, but hellbent on imposing the Right’s vision of what American society should be on the entire country.”
  • “Roberts has evidently been able to convince some of the members of Team Reactionary to revert back ever so slightly to his way of staving off egalitarian democracy – by not destroying, but instead using the Court’s aura of nonpartisanship to their advantage.”
  • “The anti-liberal majority breaks down to two justices, Alito and Thomas, who just want to put democracy and the modern state to the torch every chance they get; and four justices who are more conscious of the repercussions of going scorched earth at all times…Defenders of multiracial, pluralistic democracy are not to be found in either camp. Once the expectedly generous headlines generated by the ‘good’ decisions – which Roberts put out relatively early – were in, the rightwing majority on the Court showed its true colors again.”
  • “All of these rulings have to be seen in the context of the Right’s larger project to uphold traditional hierarchies of race, wealth/class, gender, and religion, all part of the attempt to roll back whatever progress towards true democracy has been made over the past century.”
  • “Forget the stupid legend of the ‘3-3-3’ Court. This is still the Dobbs Court. It has gone rogue, occasional tactical restraint notwithstanding. The Court’s actions lack legitimacy. There is no consistent logic or principle beyond ideologically driven power politics.”
  • “The idea that those who founded the country envisioned a super-body composed of unaccountable, all-powerful rulers clad in robes, free to turn on democracy itself and reign entirely outside the structure of institutions that make up the political system, is preposterous.”
  • “The Court isn’t merely protecting the rights of a minority from the tyranny of mob rule; it is spearheading the attempts by a radicalizing minority to install ever more authoritarian forms of minoritarianism in order to secure their status against the will of the majority.”

 

 

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